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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) directed the Inspector General (IG) of Police, Islamabad to probe the allegations of manhandling and torturing the media owner and analyst Mohsin Baig in a police station.

A single bench of Chief Justice Athar Minallah on Friday issued the directions, while hearing a petition of Shaila Mustafa seeking quashment of a First Information Report (FIR) registered against her husband on terrorism charges.

The IHC bench observed that the allegations of manhandling, subjecting the accused to torture and denial of access to a legal practitioner while in custody of the Incharge Police Station, Margalla are grave in nature.

Justice Minallah directed the District Magistrate, Islamabad Capital Territory, to inspect the Police Station, Margalla, in exercise of powers conferred under the Police Rules, 1861 and inquire about the allegations of manhandling, torture and refusal to provide access to a lawyer.

He also directed the Inspector General of Police to independently inquire regarding the alleged treatment of the petitioner’s husband. “Both the officials are directed to submit their respective reports through their authorized representatives on the date fixed,” said the IHC chief justice.

The IHC CJ said it is reiterated that regardless of the gravity of offence, manhandling and torture of an accused during custody in a police station is intolerable and such acts are likely to expose the responsible officials to consequences.

The court order mentioned that the petitioner asserted that her husband, Mohsin Jameel Baig, was arrested on 16-02-2022 in FIR No 87/2022, dated 16-02-2022, registered at police station Margalla, Islamabad.

Sardar Latif Khosa, representing the petitioner, stated that the husband of his client has been denied access to a lawyer of his choice. He also alleged that the petitioner’s husband was manhandled and physically harmed while he was in custody of the Incharge Police Station, Margalla.

The petitioner prayed for issuance of a writ for quashing the criminal case.

The IHC bench stated in the court order that admittedly, the petitioner’s husband has been formally arrested in the case and, therefore, he alone can be treated as an aggrieved person in the context of Article 199 of the Constitution.

However, it added that the petitioner has the locus standi to be aggrieved that the police officials have allegedly refused access to a lawyer and manhandled her husband, while in their custody.

Justice Minallah noted that no accused, regardless of the gravity of the alleged offence, can be treated otherwise than in accordance with law, let alone being subjected to physical harm. “Arrest of an accused in a criminal case merely deprives the latter from enjoying the right to freedom of movement guaranteed under Article 15 of the Constitution. However, the other rights remain unaffected. Article 9 guarantees security of a person despite being in custody while Article 10(1) explicitly provides that after arrest, an accused shall not be denied the right to consult and be defended by a legal practitioner of his/ her choice. Article 14 declares that the dignity of a human is inviolable and that no person shall be subjected to torture,” said the IHC CJ.

In this matter, the court also issued notices to Advocate General, Islamabad Capital Territory and deferred the hearing till February 21.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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